Stila vs. Smashbox: The pros and cons of two great cosmetic lines
Browse articles:
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health
Browse companies:
Automotive Crafts, Hobbies & Gifts Department Stores Electronics & Wearables Fashion Food & Drink Health & Beauty Home & Garden Online Services & Software Sports & Outdoors Subscription Boxes Toys, Kids & Baby Travel & Events

Stila vs. Smashbox: The pros and cons of two great cosmetic lines

In this report

Stila and Smashbox are two of my favorite cosmetic lines.  They are perfect for teenage girls because the are fun and trendy looking and they are perfect for more mature consumers because they are high quality products that work for many skin-types.  Their packaging is one of the most notable differences.  Stila has flowery designs and sketches of girls in fun places on their products.  The style is perfect for very girly-girls.  Smashbox has a more hip and sleek style to their packaging.  It is all done in black, but is still playful looking and aesthetically pleasing. 

Both product lines are high quality and I regularly buy from both, but I have found favorites in each.  I summarize what is best in each line.

#1 - Stila Cosmetics

Stila produces high quality cosmetics that are fun and trendy.  They are widely available at stores such as Sephora, Ulta and sometimes Costco and Nordstrom Rack.  This was the first really good make-up I ever tried, and I still love their products.


  • Their products are good for your skin.  One of the best examples is their illuminating liquid foundation. This product (and others in their foundation line) use kaolin as the base ingredient.  Kaolin is a high quality french white clay that is used in expensive facials.  It absorbs oils from the skin to continuously provide a matte finish, but it doesn't over-dry the skin. It leaves the face feeling very soft at the end of the day.  Their blushes and lip colors are also made from high quality ingredients.  They do not irritate skin and do not have common allergens that are found in drug store cosmetics. I have super sensitive skin and Stila products have never caused any rashes, break-outs, itching, swelling or redness. 
  • The packaging is fun.  Their packaging is pretty, compact and it has a youthful appearance.  So many high quality make-up lines (like Lancome and Estee Lauder) have packages that seem matronly.  Stila packaging creates the feeling that makeup is simply enhancing your natural good looks and that putting it on is fun, rather than a chore.
  • They produce seasonal color palettes and constantly add new products to their line.  This keeps them up to date with the latest advances in cosmetics.
  • Their products are designed to maximize youthfulness.  They offer cream blushes with minimize the appearance of fine lines.  Their lip colors are mostly glosses that make the lips look full.  Their colors are selected to emphasize youth on most people.
  • Their prices are reasonable.  At the high end of their cosmetics are foundations which cost $38.00.  They have several products that are close to $10 and most are in the $20-$30 range.
  • The ofer a 20% discount when you sign up for their newsletter.


  • The biggest problem with the Stila line is that their choices of colors are limited.  If your skin is hard to match, you may not find the right color of foundation among their offerings.
  • The packaging on their lip glosses is difficult to use in cold weather.  There is a brush at the end of a tube full of gloss and you turn the end of the tube to push the gloss out.  If your house is cold in the morning, it is hard to get the gloss to come out, and when it does, there is always way too much.
  • Their mascara smudges easily.
#2 - Smashbox Cosmetics

Smashbox also produces a high quality cosmetics line that is comparable in many ways to Stila.  Their products are also widely available at Ulta and Sephora and sometimes at drugstores.


  • They have an extensive line of cosmetics.  They compete with lines that have some of the most extensive offerings of colors (like Lancome and Estee-Lauder), but they also have the newest available sorts of products.  Some of my favorites are their face primers $38. They are cognisant of different skin types and offer a wide variety of primers that can correct skin coloring or complexion problems.
  • Their packaging is sleek and modern looking.  It has a trendy, hip appearance, that is feminine but also a little tough looking.  This make-up feels fun to put on and also a little bit sexy and sophisticated, while still seeming youthful.
  • They offer bright colors of lipsticks and glosses along with more neutral and reserved.
  • Their prices are reasonable.  The high end of their line is face powders that are in the $50-$60 range.
  • They offer free shipping and samples with all on-line orders.
  • Their free samples are generous.


  • If you wear all the complementary skin products recommended in their line, they feel a little heavy.
  • Their mascara smudges easily.
The Bottom Line

You won't go wrong with either brand of cosmetics, and they offer somewhat different products.  You will probably do well to try products from both lines.  The colors in the Stila line are safe, so if you are conservative give these a try.  Smashbox has more color offerings and includes "loud" colors that don't work for everyone, but look great on many people.  So if you want to look not quite so conservative, this is a good make-up line to try (although they do have neutral and soft colors too.) Both cosmetics companies offer great products.  If you want make-up to feel fun to put on, these are the two best brands to get the job done.

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
in Cosmetics & Makeup on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Cosmetics & Makeup?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (1)

Great reviews. Keep up the good work! Voted...